This spinach Caprese salad takes a well-loved summer salad up a notch with the addition of fresh greens and a flavorful vinaigrette. Perfect for a weeknight dinner or as a take-along dish to your next gathering, this salad is quick and easy, vegetarian, and gluten-free.
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What you’ll love about this recipe
- It’s super simple! It doesn’t get a whole lot simpler than this. Throwing a handful of ingredients in the food processor to make the vinaigrette and tossing it all together is all it takes. This salad comes together in just 10-minutes, making it a perfect accompaniment to a weeknight dinner or a bring-along dish to your next cookout or potluck.
- It’s so fresh! There’s nothing I love more than a fresh salad on a hot summer day. With plenty of fresh produce as well as fresh mozzarella this recipe fits the bill.
- It’s dietary restriction friendly! This salad caters to vegetarians and those who follow a gluten-free diet. You could easily leave out the mozzarella or sub for dairy-free cheese and it would be vegan.
Ingredients (+ notes & substitutions)
- Balsamic vinegar: Although not an ingredient in authentic/traditional Caprese, sweet and tart balsamic is commonly drizzled over the salad for an extra pop of flavor. This makes it an obvious choice for the base of the vinaigrette.
- Extra-virgin olive oil: The purest form of olive oil, extra-virgin is the way to go for this salad. It is not only the healthiest variety of olive oil but because it is extracted using the cold-press method retains the most olive flavor.
- Shallot: This aromatic adds a touch of sweet and mild onion flavor.
- Garlic: The raw garlic adds a little zing to the dressing.
- Fresh spinach: I prefer baby spinach for this salad but it’s not necessary. Make sure to rinse and dry it thoroughly.
- Fresh basil: Approximately 1/2 cup of basil leaves will do the trick.
- Tomatoes: Either cherry or grape tomatoes. Depending on how large they are you may want to either halve or quarter them.
- Mozzarella pearls: If you are unable to find mozzarella in this form you may purchase fresh mozzarella in a log or sliced and cut it into small pieces. Either way, make sure it’s the fresh variety typically found in the specialty cheese section.
- Black pepper: If available, I urge you to use freshly cracked black pepper for more intense flavor.
- Kosher salt: A medium grain (or flaked) sea salt is preferable here but kosher salt would work as well.
How to make spinach caprese salad (+ tips)
1. In a food processor fitted with a blade attachment, process the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, shallot, and garlic until smooth and combined. Set aside. If you have a mini food processor, I recommend you use it. Since there are so few ingredients, I found that my regular-sized food processor had difficulty processing the onion and garlic since the bowl was not full enough.
2. Add the spinach and basil to a large bowl, pour the dressing over top, and gently toss to coat.
3. Add the tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, black pepper, and salt and gently toss to combine.
4. Add salt and black pepper to taste and serve.
This salad is best served fresh as it has a tendency to get soggy quickly, however, it will keep for up to five days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
What to serve with this salad:
- A wrap like this autumn harvest vegetable wrap or sandwich like this turkey pesto sandwich on ciabatta.
- Chicken breast or these blackened chicken tenders.
- Your favorite pasta dish.
- Quiche or an omelet like this farmer’s omelet.
- Fresh baked bread or rolls.
- A cup of soup.
More summer salads you may like:
- Pesto Orzo Salad with Summer Vegetables: Herbaceous and fresh; this delightful pesto orzo salad with summer vegetables including corn, cucumber, and tomato and fresh mozzarella is simple to prepare in under 20-minutes and a great take-along dish to your next cookout or potluck. Vegetarian and gluten-free adaptable.
- Everything Bagel Cucumber Salad: This summer salad featuring cucumbers in a sour cream sauce and seasoned with everything bagel seasoning is incredibly quick and easy + naturally vegetarian and gluten-free.
- Chimichurri Potato Salad: This bright and flavorful chimichurri potato salad combines crispy roasted potatoes, sautéed onion and red bell pepper, and fresh homemade chimichurri. It’s simple, takes just 25-minutes to prepare, vegan, and gluten-free.
If you make this spinach Caprese salad I’d love your feedback. Please leave a comment and/or a rating below as I greatly value your opinion. Or snap a pic and tag me on Instagram @taoofspiceblog. Love, light, and happy cooking ya’ll ♥
- 3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 shallot
- 2 cloves garlic
- 10 ounces baby spinach
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly ribboned
- 10 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 8 ounces mozzarella pearls
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, preferably freshly ground
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- In a food processor fit with a blade attachment, process the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, shallot, and garlic until smooth and combined. Set aside. (See notes)
- Add the spinach and basil to a large bowl, pour the dressing over top, and gently toss to coat.
- Add the tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, black pepper, and salt and gently toss to combine.
- Add salt and black pepper to taste and serve.
Storage: This salad is best served fresh as it has a tendency to get soggy quickly, however, it will keep for up to five days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- If you have a mini food processor, I recommend you use it. Since there are so few ingredients, I found that my regular-sized food processor had difficulty processing the onion and garlic since the bowl was not full enough.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 189Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 382mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 2gSugar: 8gProtein: 11g
The nutritional information provided is computer generated. It is only an estimate and intended for informational purposes only. Nutrition details may vary depending on various factors such as origin, freshness of ingredients, etc